Last week I wrote of a situation that featured a micro-managing, interfering wannabe who stands in the way of a club gaining success through the fun of the patrons.
Let me set the record straight.
The management style described in that scenario does exist, but so do several others. In Ontario, there are plenty of capable, competent, very accomplished club managers.
Among my role models are Kevin Thistle at Coppinwood, Wilson Paterson at Royal Ashburn, Don MacKay at Muskoka Highlands, the retired Alex Walker and Clayton Cary.
I also think the boards of directors at Oakdale, Thornhill and Hamilton have done good jobs over the years and out west, I like many of the things I read going on at the Cottonwood Golf and Country Club.
My list is far greater than these few names, but the bottom line is the same. In every case, they value their staff.
As stated in another blog, “All golf clubs have only three assets – the property, the staff and the patrons”.
You can have the finest property, but a poor staff will drive patrons away. On the other hand, a good staff can attract patrons to a weak property.
Somewhere in there, a good manager understands that proper hiring, constant training, respectful treatment and fair, honest, consistent support brings out the best in people.
Well-treated employees come to work full of energy, zest, enthusiasm, excitement and, best of all, ideas. In fact, happy employees work harder, give their time without expectation, take fewer days off and actually help train other staff through example.
The business, therefore, benefits financially.
Patrons can spot a poisoned environment faster than a laser beam gets to Mars. All you need is a micro-managing busybody who brow beats and belittles staff and presto! A once-welcoming congenial golf professional who fears for his/her job conveys the attitude of arrogant wet blanket.
It could come in the form of a general mnager., owner or even a meddlesome president. Golf is supposed to be fun and yes, it is a business, but it is a very different business than most.
You have three assets, but your only product is an experience. People pay money on a consistent basis for two reasons; you provide something that makes them feel good (food, clothes, a home, fun) or something that they perceive as value (a quality product at a fair price).
Once I had some dealings with the GM at Deerhurst Golf Resort in Huntsville, Ont. He compared the property to a small city.
They have a power plant, roads to maintain, two golf courses, timeshare owners, hotel guests, boats, shuffleboard, kitchens, a night club act and a long list of more and more. He didn’t have time to be involved in every person’s work schedule as they have over 300 employees.
He had investors to answer to and although he had a property, staff and patrons, his only product was an experience. He had to ensure the right staff were hired, trained and supported to prepare the property to present an experience the patrons perceived as having value.
Why is it then that some managers/owners and boards of directors/presidents conclude that they can produce more revenue by treating their staff poorly?
What can possibly be gained by disrespecting a long time, dedicated, loyal key employee who has served the club well?
If such an employee is not living up to expectations, what remedial programs are they offering? Can’t they see that abuse of one person affects every other staff member or that programs that were once fun will eventually lack the atmosphere that generates revenue?
Can’t they see that long-time patrons/members will begin to question the perceived value in paying their dues and leave the club?
Can’t they see that those types of actions are a very big reason that the golf industry failed to explode as predicted? Instead, it stagnated and might even implode. All you have to do is look at any golf club and ask three questions.
How successful is its junior program?
How many programs are available that appeal to and retain young women and/or families as members?
How much fun are the patrons and staff having?
If it isn’t fun, why bother? Money is only one way to keep score. If you don’t take care of the fun, there won’t be any money.